If you have plans for turning your dark, cold basement into a beautifully finished extension to your family’s home, one of the first questions you’ll ask yourself is, “what flooring will be best for my new finished basement?” Basement flooring can be tricky, so we wanted to help you out.
Choose your basement flooring wisely
You have almost endless options–tile, laminate carpet, wood, concrete, the list goes on.
But not all basement flooring options are created equal. Some flooring is better suited to the damp, cold, below-ground conditions that your basement probably has. On the other hand, some types of flooring are definitely not cut out for the concrete sub-flooring of basements and the possibility of flooding.
Steer Clear of Hardwood Flooring and Carpet
The two worst flooring options for your basement are solid wood floors and carpet, but for different reasons. Read on to find out more.
Solid Wood Woes
Installing solid wood in your below-ground basement will probably be a headache from start to finish.
The first issue is the sub-flooring. The sub-flooring in basements is usually below-grade (read: below-ground level) concrete. However, you cannot install solid wood floor directly onto concrete; you would first need to install another sub-floor or floating-subfloor.
If you did decide to do this, you would run into a few more issues. Wood is a porous material, which means it expands and contracts when the moisture levels in your basement fluctuates (which is probably often here in New England). The concrete sub-flooring absorbs ground water and sends it up through the wood floor. This causes the wood floor to sustain water damage, meaning your floor will warp and buckle over the years.
And if your basement ever floods in a heavy rain, solid wood floors will get greatly damaged. When this happens, your basement wood floor will probably need to be replaced, which can be expensive.
So in light of this, we definitely don’t recommend installing solid wood floors for your basement flooring.
Carpet may seem like a great option for basement flooring–it’s an inexpensive, warm and cushy option that would give your basements a more comfortable look and feel than the cold, hard concrete you placed it over.
However, much like solid wood flooring, carpeting is very sensitive to water damage, and in the case of flooding would probably have to be totally replaced. So while the initial cost is most likely lower, you have to factor in the possibility of replacing your basement carpeting multiple times.
Another big problem is that any moisture–from the air or the ground–can cause mold growth in your carpet and carpet pad, leading to health problems.
If you do decide to go with carpet for your basement flooring, make sure to keep these possible issues in mind.
The Harder, The Better
When looking for basement flooring, keep this in mind–”the harder, the better.” Because of the high moisture levels in basements, harder materials like engineered wood floors and tile will stand up better and last longer.
Engineered Wood is Wonderful
Engineered wood is a great choice for basement flooring. While it has the look of solid wood floors, engineered wood is much more resistant to moisture. It is less likely to warp and buckle because of the pliable core, making it better for rooms with fluctuating moisture levels, like bathrooms and basements.
And unlike solid wood floors, engineered wood can be installed over cement; it also works well with in-floor heating systems, which can make a big difference on cold basement floors.
If you have your heart set on the look of wood flooring in your basement, engineered wood is the way to go.
Tile is Terrific
Tile is one of the best types of flooring for basements because of its hardness and the high availability of styles. Unlike more porous types of flooring, tile’s hardiness means that it won’t be affected by changes in moisture levels.
If your basement floods, tile will hold up well and probably won’t need replacing. And if one or two tiles do need to be replaced, it is easy and quick to do so; unlike carpet, you don’t need to replace the whole floor if one section gets damaged.
Besides its durability, one of the other great things about tile flooring is the wide availability of options. Some of the many options are:
- Ceramic tiles
- Stone tiles
- Rubber tiles
- And luxury vinyl tiles (LVT)
These all have different strengths and weaknesses, but are all durable. Among them, you will definitely find the look you want for your basement flooring. Some types of LVT can even look like wood planks.
Tile is durable, easy to clean, and very customizable, making it one of the best options for basement flooring.
No Matter What You Choose
Ace Wood Floors is here to help you choose your material and style, then install your new basement flooring. So no matter what style or material you want, give us a call and see how we can make your basement flooring dreams a reality!